Ansell cuts earnings forecast on supply issues, softer glove demand

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Jan 31 (Reuters) - Ansell Ltd (ANN.AX) warned on Monday of lower full-year earnings as supply disruptions, higher costs and softer demand start to bite, sending the Australian medical glove maker's shares tumbling to their lowest level in nearly two years.

The Victoria-based company said one of its factories in Malaysia is shut for a week from Jan. 27 after cases of COVID-19 were detected among workers, while the United States also blocked the import of disposable gloves from a major Malaysian supplier due to forced labour concerns.

Ansell said it was also facing higher labour and freight costs, while demand was starting to slow faster than expected as the pandemic-fuelled boost starts to wane.

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The company expects earnings per share for the year between 125 cents and 145 cents, lower than the 175-195 cents it had flagged in November.

Shares plunged 24% in early trade, but recovered some ground to trade down 16% at A$26.25 - a March 2020 low.

Ansell, which will report half-year results on Feb. 15, said sales were expected to come in at $1.01 billion and operating profit at $111 million.

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Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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